During my visit to the Explorama Lodge, ACTS, and the ExploraNapo Lodge I became aware of the community outreach programs supported by the revenue generated from the visitors to the lodge. Many resorts and lodges in scenic wilderness areas call themselves claim to be ecotourism providers but Explorama Lodge actually subscribes to the principles of ecotourism. Two principles of ecotourism that I will profile in this blog post:
- It should play an active role in conserving the natural resources which provide the visitors their experience.
- Ensure that the long term benefits- to the resource, to the local community, and to industry (benefits may be conservation, scientific, social, or economic).
Explorama Inn Reserve is the smallest of Explorama's protected areas, consisting of 100 hectares (250 acres) in total. Of this area, 34 hectares (85 acres) is primary or virgin rain forest, while 66 hectares is secondary rain forest, gradually returning from farm land to forested secondary growth.
The Explorama Lodge Reserve has been protected by Explorama since 1964. This reserve consists of over 200 hectares, or 500 acres, of mainly high Tierra Firme, or non-flooding forest. One small section is lowland or flooded forest. The Missouri Botanical Garden has found this reserve to be one of the highest in biodiversity of trees per square hectare in any area studied by scientists to date. Adjacent to this reserve is a small community of Yagua Native Americans which have clear title to their own reserve of 1,622 hectares (4,055 acres). This property surrounds the Explorama Lodge Reserve, acting as a buffer zone to help protect the area from the continual encroachment of the ever-expanding population of river people. Explorama helped with the legal process of obtaining this reserve for the community, provided the workers and supplies necessary to cut the boundary line around the property, and to obtain the accurate measurements of the land for the Peruvian Department of Agriculture.
Explornapo. Shimigay, and Sucusari Reserve are located near the Napo River consists of 2,000 hectares, or about 5,000 acres. Adjacent to these reserves and acting as buffers are the CONAPAC Biological Reserve and a large 4,770 hectare reserve (11,925 acres) belonging to the Orejone Native American Community.
You too can contribute to this on-going community project even if you cannot visit Explorama Lodge.